Twice as many children have died in Las Vegas’s Clark County this year from abuse and neglect as in all of last year, and officials worry the number could be triple that for 2008 by year's end. In the rest of Nevada and nationwide, the numbers are climbing too, says the Las Vegas Sun. No one agrees on an explanation for the trend. Some experts note that states such as Nevada with dwindling resources have fewer child protection programs.
The state Division of Child and Family Services has been criticized for egregious child deaths in past years, and state officials warned this year that projected budget cuts would only hamper their efforts. Some experts blame the failing economy. More people out of work has meant more stress, and officials say more homes are teeming with frustration and anger. Others blame drugs, poverty and risque lifestyles, and the ignorance of parents, pointing to the eight children who accidentally drowned or were shot to death in Clark County this summer. Some call the dramatic increase a statistical fluke.